This week, I’m resuming my Elliott’s List feature by asking you to vote on your the car company you prefer when you travel. Which agency offers the best service and prices and stands behind its products without dinging you for unwanted insurance or damage claims? In other words, which one do you turn to when you need a set of wheels? Read more “Please vote now for your favorite car rental company”
Congress is in the final throes of negotiating the FAA Reauthorization Bill. Part of the proposed law contains several controversial consumer provisions. One of the most debated concerns is whether to make the current Department of Transportation (DOT) regulation that limits an airplane’s time on the runway to a maximum of three-hours a law that can only be changed by Congress. Read more “Weekend poll: Do we really need a new tarmac-delay law?”
Will the industry with the worst fees please stand up and take a bow?
You’re looking at the airlines, over in the corner, aren’t you? Granted, they come off as a little shady and they’re constantly making news for some insane new surcharge, like paying extra for confirmed seat assignments or to carry a bag on the plane.
It’s been more than two years since most major airlines “unbundled” their fares and began charging passengers for the first checked bag. And although air travelers are now paying more for their luggage than ever — $2.7 billion last year, compared with just $1.1 billion in 2008 — they are deeply unhappy about it, according to a new poll.
A survey of more than 1,000 travelers by the Consumer Travel Alliance suggests air travelers are more upset about the checked luggage charges than any other airline fee. Asked what they missed the most about air travel, 56 percent said it was the ability to check their first bag without paying extra. Roughly 20 percent said they missed meals, and slightly fewer — 19 percent — missed the ability to make a confirmed seat reservation. About five percent of respondents missed the free pillows and blankets.
“It’s almost impossible for the casual traveler to go without luggage, or even the road warriors who have to stay over several nights,” says Robin Edelston, a frequent traveler from Cos Cob, Conn. “And charging for checked luggage encourages people to cram stuff into the overhead bins when the airlines should be encouraging people to stow it in cargo.” Read more “Passengers say they miss luggage-inclusive fares the most”
Travelers think the TSA is doing a “terrible” job, according to a new survey of this site’s readers.
Asked to rate the agency on how it keeps travelers informed, handles complaints, explains its policies and is prepared, a majority of travelers gave TSA a failing grade. Only in one category — protecting travelers — did a majority of respondents say the government had done a “fair” job.
In some categories, the “terrible” votes outnumbered the other responses by more than 2 to 1. Those included “keeping us informed,” “handling complaints” and “explaining its policies.”
There were 472 respondents to the poll.
The results probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone who flies. And given the agency’s decision to begin imposing tougher screening requirements for those who resist its new full-body scanners, it’s difficult to imagine the scores getting any better in the near future.